VIEWPOINT - Police Should Educate Drivers

SoapboxYou may be interested in the number of distracted drivers nabbed by Comox Valley RCMP in a recent 5 day campaign. They caught 91 drivers including one who received 2 tickets in one day-likely the same bad habit as the lady in Vancouver with 14 tickets.

I commend the local RCMP for their ability to detect these distracted driver as I rarely notice them any more. Speeding drivers are much more obvious.

According to the newspaper article, several drivers who were stopped, didn’t seem to realize what was illegal. The RCMP spokesman said it was up the public to educate themselves.

As you have stated, road safety is everybody’s responsibility, but some one, some where in the BC System of Governance and Public Safety should be concerned about the number of high risk drivers on our road who have a low probability of being educated by anyone.

I would like to see our local RCMP making more of these educational interventions, every day , but some has to make this a priority.


Distracted Driving

The provincial government is going to bring in new fines for Distracted Driving but could they be wasting their time?

Every year more cars are on the road that brake automatically, warn you if you are wandering out of your lane, alert you if a vehicle is coming at you from the side etc. The driverless or self driving car is not that far off.

In 10 years time is distracted driving going to be as important as it is today?

Make the drivers exam harder to pass and it would do far more than any of the measures we see today.

Might also help if they re-wrote the drivers manual. I took the on line test the other day and without even studying the book was able to exceed the 80% required to pass the written portion. Not bad in my opinion for a person that wrote the test in 1956.

And some of the information in the on-line test I thought was ambiguous. More clarification and get rid of the stupid questions and they might have something.

Where is personal responsibility?

There was a year's worth of discussion on every form of media (and social media) for a year before the new laws were introduced. There have been endless news items about it since, and even more since the new fines were announced. The story of the woman with the 14+ distracted driving tickets went viral and was known world-wide.

How much more "education" do you want? How do people NOT know about this by now? How much responsibility do individuals have to FIND that info for themselves, rather than just blundering around expecting everything to be spoon-fed to them?

Here's the thing: even if you beat them over the head with information, people will only hear what they want to hear. There was a story recently of a woman who was ticketed for using some sort of social media while driving... she was stunned, because she "wasn't texting or on a call".

You're probably one of those who wonder why the cops are busting texting drivers instead of out "stopping real crimes"... yet you still expect them to find the time to educate everyone individually on the law??

educating drivers

Part of driver education is follow up after qualifying to drive.It is not a license to kill which unfortunately some impaired ,distracted,and mostly speeding drivers get to do. Unintended but unchecked without some sort of montoring and mentoring. How can this possibly be a license for life, driving a 2 ton vehicle at 86mph, regardless of road conditions with no follow up ? Amost Every driver passes the tests -some in 11 lagauages, But with 12 countries there is no tests so-how can higher testing standards make any possible difference, Bring back electronic speed monitorings -lives will be saved-electronic mentoring. A good thing- to save lives.

which BC corporation or ministry is responsible for leading ?

This morning, my neighbout commented on the death of a celebrity who had been killed by his runaway vehicle. I mentionend that a secretary, working for the company, I worked for, had been killed by  a pickup truck , left running unattended and slipped into gear, pinning her against a wall.This happened decades ago at a company Location in England . The head office in Canada asked each Plant Manager to impliment a policy on vehicle immobilization, to ensure that such a tragic accident was not repeated. On our sites all employees, visitors , contractors were required to shut off vehicles and apply the hand brake.This became one of a few critical rules that had daily follow up. Our sites had no fatal injuries and few serious accidents for decades-largely due to management leadership on safety.  

Head office set the standard-no fatal accidents or serious injury was acceptable.

While I agree that each driver should accept responsibilty for following the rules of the road-too many don't.

So, I'm just asking why we don't have the same sort of head office leadership on preventing fatalties and serious injuries on BC roads? From my experience it takes leadership to make significant change. Why should British Columbians accept  a fatal rate, consistenly higher than Ontario ? Higher than the Candian average.Whether you agree or disagree with raising speed limits- excessive speeding continues and police do not have the resources to deal with the huge numbers of speeders, impaired and distracted,causing 81% of fatal crashes. New approaches and leadership are required.




I have a suggestion!

The death of the celebrity you refer to would not have occurred if the vehicle had been properly and safely parked, and in accordance with the policy introduced by your Head Office following the unfortunate death of the secretary.

If the parking brake has been properly set, the vehicle won't move even if it isn't in Park, or slips out somehow. And nobody passes a Road Test in BC (or most jurisidictions with relatively rigid criteria, I would guess) unless they demonstrate that they are in the habit of securing it properly.

It's an offence under Section 191(2) of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Last year, according to the most recently available data, nine tickets (that's 9, out of 444,050) were issued for this offence in BC.

So obviously, the police aren't focusing on this in any serious manner; it would be my guess that those 9 were only written after the fact of a runaway vehicle.

Keeping in mind the title of this thread, this seems like an opportunity being missed for the police to educate drivers.


191(2) is nothing to do with applying the E-Brake

It has to do with locking your vehicle to prevent unauthorized use and turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the Hwy, and as that incident happened in his driveway, how would this law apply? On an ICBC road exam, do they pull into a private driveway and test if the driver follows 191(2)? and how would it apply anyways?

Then you claim no one in BC or most jurisdictions passes a road test without displaying this. Funny many drivers in BC never even have to take a road test or even display that in fact they know the law or for that matter if in fact they can even drive, as long as they are from one of the 14 countries on the list.

They can very possibly bribe a road examiner in another country and buy their license, then just hold it for 2 years before moving here to do a straight exchange for a BC License, it's even happened here that people have bought their license by bribing an examiner, so it's very possible. So I fail to see how this falls on the responsibility of police to educate drivers.

leadership in BC

Yes -it is BC Government Policy that will determine if there  is a significant reduction in injuries and deaths on BC Roads. Instead of investing in high tech signs, some sort of speed monitoring system would be much more effective, and allow traffic police to concentrate on Impaired, distracted, aggressive drivers.

Perhaps,also the policy on licensing should be changed, so that all who drive on BC roads, know what "maximum" and "distracted" means, regardless of treaties.and tests in multiple languages. .  Retesting could be required after  a specified number of tickets or accident claims.It should not just be the older drivers who require mandatory retesting. Driver Education rests with Government-part of education is enforcement.

My bad!

It pains me to say this, but you're absolutely right:

191(2) is nothing to do with applying the E-Brake

In the back of my mind, I feel sure that there is - or was, at some point in time - a law in BC that required this; if not to set the parking brake, at least to ensure that the vehicle was made properly secure. I'll keep looking and see if I can still find it.

A quick Google found me this thread on a famous website, but unfortunately the links aren't working at present. Tim?

Of course, if it turns out that such a law isn't to be found, then we should be thankful that it remains a requirement as one of the conditions of obtaining a license in the first place!

On an ICBC road exam, do they pull into a private driveway and test if the driver follows 191(2)? and how would it apply anyways?

They avoid private driveways, understandably enough, but the fundamental (that would be Class 7) Road Test will require the driver to park several times (parked in a stall at the commencement usually, on the street near the ICBC office if this is impractacable then there will be a hill park as well as a parallel park, and at the conclusion of the test a reverse stall park), and do so properly each time - which means putting the vehicle in the correct gear, setting the wheels if parking on a hill, and of course setting the parking brake.

There will be fewer parking maneuvers on a Class 5 Road Test; they want to see more advanced skills (such as a 3-point turn in the middle of the block, safely executed of course with good observation) and things like freeway use. But there will still be sufficient parking as to determine whether the Applicant uses the parking brake when necessary.

And the Professional Road Tests (Class 1, 2, 3, 4) all commence with the Applicant conducting a Pre-Trip inspection on the vehicle. #1 item on the Pre-Trip? Ensuring the vehicle is properly secured, what else!

I'll basically ignore your other xenophobic remarks, because I don't think this is an important issue quite frankly. Bad drivers come from here, there and everywhere. If ICBC stats showed that most of the drivers from Bechuanaland or wherever showed a tendency to crash all over the place as soon as they get their BC Class 5 license, then you better believe that the reciprocal agreement with that country would be seriously reviewed. Can you provide any evidence of blackmailing Driver Examiners as being prevalent (or even any sort of issue) in any of those jurisdictions with which we have a reciprocal arrangement?

I'll also mention, in case you're unaware of it, that although the initial Class 7 'N' Driver License will be issued with a 5-year renewal requirement, the Class 5 Driver License is a 2-year Probationary; renewal may be a problem if the driver has been piling up the tickets or collisions during that time!

I fail to see how this falls on the responsibility of police to educate drivers.

We may be on the same page with this one. I'm not convinced that educating drivers is, necessarily, the responsibility of the police. On the other hand, just in the few minutes it has taken to read this, all around this province I'll bet that dozens of cops have driven on dozens of hilly roads and cheerfully turned a blind eye to dozens of vehicles that are clearly in violation of Section 191(2). What message does this send?

In BC towns and cities that employ Bylaw Officers, parking infringements are often left for them to attend to. How they do this varies, but some of them just look at it as a gravy train. So busy are they with ticketing vehicles that have been parked for more than the 1-hour (or whatever period allowed) in order to vacuum up the cash that most other violations are ignored. This does vary by jurisdiction, though; some are more objective about the reasons for, and application of, the bylaw rules.

leadership on road safety

Passing the road test is not the issue for most -it's following the rules of the road.later .There is apparently no jurisdction in BC that takes the responsibity for zero serious or fatal injuries on BC roads. No "Head Office" that insists that safe driving habits continue daily, with regular reminders to those who don't.

Yes ,there will be ticket for those who cause injuries after the fact -but the issues are speed, impaired, distracted which cause 81% of fatal and serious injuries in BC. What could BC do better in PREVENTING  the major caueses of fatal and serious injuries?

Why would anybody debate the need to reduce serioud and fatal injuries on BC roads?

Road test

Some don't take road tests, from those 12 countries that have licencing agreements.ICBC will know the stats on these drivers. Police can't possibly keep up with drivers who don' t follow the rules of the road.

Do not feel you are failure as a driver examiner or instructor-it's just that drivers see  that there is reward for speed and little consequences. It's not that driving instructors have not done their jobs, but they passed the responsility for safer driving on to policing- and they have many priorties. There are other options to monitor speed-these need to be explored and implemented to reduce fatal and serious injuries on BC roads  

Please be specific.

It never ceases to amaze me, the allegations that some people feel they can get away with on the internet.

Some don't take road tests, from those 12 countries that have licencing agreements.ICBC will know the stats on these drivers. 

Please let all of us know which of these jurisdictions is handing out Driver Licenses to the public, without having been through a Road Test.

You'll find the list here, under 'Where are you from?'

Now, be specific. You may want to look at the linked information before you respond; in fact, I would encourage you to do so.


road tests

It's my understanding from reading the posts on this website, that licenced drivers from these many countries are not required to demonstrate knowlege of BC road laws through a written test or demonstrate safe driving skills through a road test. Is this a problem? -only ICBC would know from ticketting and accident claims. Do you have any statistical information on the driver who are not tested in BCvs those who are tested here?

I'm assuming sone of our traffic laws, road signage are different than some of these countries.Some drive on the other side of the road.

Likely the majority of drivers who speed, drive agressively and distracted are driver who were trained, tested and licenced in BC . As a driving instructor and examiner, don't you wonder why people who know the rules-don't follow them?

run away vehicles and efficiency

Interesting that there is no BC requirement to use handbrakes when the vehicle is unattended.Sometimes, regulations are seen as overkill or inconvenience .The runaway  oil train at Lac Megantic was left unattended and unsecured. 47 people died.

Sometimes, efficiency is a much higher priority than safety. It was the case in the Lac Megantic disaster and rail companies are resisting legislation that would slow them down. Mechanical rail chocks have been around for some time, but it takes a few minutes to install and remove them. Productivity is the priority.

So- it is no surprise that the BC Liberal goverement have raised speed limts and target those who make traffic flow less efficient- but there could be a price to pay as tragically demontrated in the rail transportation sector, where efficiency is the priority.

We will see what the BC 2014/2015 injury numbers are-when ICBC gets their computers systems repaired.They have two more months to update the Transport Canada stats for 2015.

Off Topic, But Can't Resist

The runaway  oil train at Lac Megantic was left unattended and unsecured.

Unattended, yes, as is often the practice in Canada and the US.

Unsecured, as in the doors not locked, yes, but unsecured as brakes not applied, incorrect. Both the air brakes were set and (an insufficient number of) hand brakes were set. A fire in the idling locomotive resulted in it being shut down by the fire department that attended. This led to the air bleeding down and the brakes releasing. The handbrakes that were set were unable to hold the train and it rolled back down the grade.

The train should have been on a siding behind a derail, but it was left on the main line.

If you are interested, you can read the Transportation Safety Board report.

off the topic but related

Hi Tim,

Mechanical chocks would have prevented this. This was standard for parked rail cars on our Industrail sites, because rail car brakes were not always maintained and rail cars, with brakes applied, had rolled down the track onto a roadway. In the Lac Megantic case, sufficient mechanical brakes were not applied and the train was not only left on the main track but not not properly immobilized-would you not agree?

On Industrial sites,Worksafe regulations require a  hand brake, Proper transmission park system or wheel chocks section 16.36.

Although this is not a big  issue on BC roads is there a requirement to use a handbrake, when leaving a vehicle unattended?

Made me read the story

I thought it was odd that if the engine quit the loss of air would cause the train to roll away as the exact opposite is true with semi's air brakes, if the air depletes it causes the brakes to lock up, there is even a low air warning in the cab should the air drop, because if the air drops to low all the brakes will lock up and then you would be doing the famous action of "Kissing the Windshield"


The same thoughts crossed my mind, pretty much.

The Spring Brakes on a Semi will dynamite - basically, turn full on, at the point where spring pressure exceeds air pressure. Normal air pressure being around 115 psi, spring brake pressure around 60 psi.

As you say, there will have been visual and audible warnings first. And a 60 psi application will be violent - unless the brakes aren't properly adjusted and/or they're overheated.

It seems odd that a railway train wouldn't use a similar fail-safe system.

Then again, the dual air systems - and necessity for the operator to deliberately and separately switch both the tractor spring brake and tractor protection valve before the unit can be moved - may not have a practicable application on a multi-car train, perhaps?

This Is Meant to Explain

'Fail safe?' Or not?

That's an informative video.

The key difference in the systems - between trucks and trains - would seem to be that with a train, you have to set the parking brake manually; there's nothing automatic about it. So if a rail car lost it's reservoir pressure due to a leak or rupture and the parking brake had not been set, it will roll downhill until it hits something.

The truck, on the other hand, will automatically activate it's parking brake (aka Spring Brake) as a result of a rupture.

Looked at another way, if a truck and trailer have been properly shut down - which includes opening the drain valves on the air tanks (wet tank first on the tractor to keep condenscation out of the system) then you will not be able to move that unit unless the motor (which drives the compressor, which fills the tanks) has been started up and run at a high idle for several minutes. That's what I call fail-safe - so long as the brakes are in adjustment, it's pretty much guaranteed to work, and independent of air supply or manually setting the parking brake.


Driver education

My career was on Industrial sites.I have much respect for Professional Industrial mobile equipment trainers who trained and licenced operators of many different specialized vehicles, and cranes. They not only trained, but put their name on certfiying that the mobile equipment and crane operators were knowlegdable and competent and followed all applicable laws and regulations. None of the professionals that I knew , advocating breaking the laws ot taking shortcuts. They taught by the book and never had an accident  on their watch. 

I'm a little disappointed that some  current or former ICBC  road testors ,may not advocate going by the book, when it comes to road safety.

continuing education for drivers

Hi Tim,

It has only been  38 days since the RCMP IRU towed 23 drivers on the Malahat foe excessive speed

The ICBC spokesperson stated that it was an opportunity to connect with drivers and remind them .

If progress is to be made on reducing injuries and accidents, should not the reminders to travel at the posted speed be more regular-say at least weekly? Better yet-daily?

If there was electronic speed monitoring, police resources would not have to be dedicated to this importat accident prevention activity of reminding drivers not to drive 40KPH over the posted limts.


Fancier speed signs?

Maybe it would be an idea to update the speed reader signs so instead of just showing the speed and a frowny face, it shows the speed limit, your current speed, and the potential fine. It's not like the technology is all that complicated.

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